Lezak Clinic Video

When Jason Lezak was at Brophy Sports Complex last week conducing a clinic, the film crew from Swimming World TV stopped by. They shot some footage of the event and got Jason to talk a little bit about his experiences after his amazing swims in Beijing. Click here to view the segment.

Thanks to Peter Busch and Jeff Commings for coming out to this event!


Why Join USMS - Part VIII

Learning from the Best

Jerry Clark, Masters swimmer and member of the U.S. Masters Swimming Board of Directors, is always trying to improve.

Jerry and 21 other Masters swimmers from North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee gathered in Charlotte last weekend to learn from the best. Masters coach Kerry O'Brien and USA Swimming and former Olympic coach David Marsh joined the Masters group for a training camp and clinic. Jeremy Knowles, three-time Olympic swimmer from the Bahamas, also joined the line-up to teach IM transitions.

The clinic, which began on Saturday morning, included both pool and classroom sessions. Jerry began planning for the clinic in July. His first order of business: finding top-quality coaches who could and would focus on race-specific training and mental preparation.

Racing was the theme of the clinic, and to create awareness and interest in the clinic, Jerry sent out invitations to the swimmers in his area that he knew liked to race. "The overall theme was to help this type of swimmer learn how to train for enhancing his or her performance." As Jerry planned this clinic he knew that by keeping the number of participants down that each swimmer was going to get plenty of attention and one-on-one instruction.

"There is something really special that happens when swimmers are buying into a workout and the instructional suggestions coaches are rendering," said Jerry when asked about the success of the clinic. "I love being a participant in that environment," he continued.

So what was Jerry's favorite part about the clinic? " I love it when the coaches start to get excited about what the swimmers are doing. Their enthusiasm is very evident and I know that the swimmers are positively affected by it." David reflected on his experience coaching at the Charlotte clinic: "There is a certain level of attentiveness with Masters swimmers. They are fascinated with the technology and swimming technique; they hang on every word and are really there to learn to be the best swimmer that they can be."

The camaraderie among swimmers is an undeniable result of a camp or clinic setting. Clinics, like the one hosted by Jerry Clark, bring together swimmers and coaches to discuss, share and develop swimming and fitness philosophies, tips, tricks and tools. Each participant gets better. "I have received nothing but rave reviews," said Jerry of the responses of the participating swimmers. Jerry has requested suggestions about how to improve the format of the clinic for next year and plans on offering the clinic on an annual basis.

There are plenty of swimmers across the country who would like to host a clinic or camps in their local area but aren't sure exactly how to get started. Jerry gives this advice: " First, decide whom the clinic will try to reach (novices, intermediates, fitness swimmers, triathletes, open water swimmers or competitive pool swimmers)." Each segment can benefit from a clinic or camp. "Next," according to Jerry, "start moving through the details; reserve the pool, sanction the event and, most important, publicize!"

U.S. Master swimmers do not have to be a member of the same club to be considered teammates, to learn from one another or to engage in training and social fun. "When swimmers engage in a camp or a clinic they are able to focus on what they are there to do: learn. Masters swimmers are busy and have full lives outside of the pool, but when Masters swimmers commits their time to a clinic, they are able to be there, be in the moment, 100 percent," said David. Clinics and camps provide a platform for learning as well as interacting between swimmers and coaches.


Masters Leaders in the News

Recently, Mel Goldstein and Ashley Gangloff were in Arizona as a part of the USMS Membership Development Program. They met with LMSC leaders, swimmers, and team officials. The goal is to grow masters swimming throughout the US, especially here in Arizona.

They were on Swimming World's Morning Swim Show earlier this week, click here to go to the footage.


See Evie at the Pool

A couple of months ago Evie Lynch was featured in Fitness Plus Magazine. Go here to read the article and learn why she swims. No doubt you will see her at the pool...


Classic Car Spa Cards

Along with the bag tags, you will receive another item in the mail when you get your USMS card. It is the Classic Car Spa Business Partner Card, which gives you $2 off a car wash, oil, and lube services. You also get 10% off car detail services!

Classic Car Spa has locations in both the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas. Their facilities are top notch and offer a wide range of services. Use your card next time you go there.

Oh, stay tuned for more discounts news in the near future...

Membership has its benefits.


Ron Johnson Invite

This year's Ron Johnson Invitational produce another bevy of records. Swimming World's Lane 9 News has the full story here. The great news is that swimmers from all over the US came to Arizona to swim at this meet. It was a great time and everybody there had a chance to see some excellent swimming. Not only were there many record-breaking swims, there were many noteworthy individual performances.

Thanks to the Sun Devil Masters and Meet Directory Katy James for putting on a great event. Next year will be even better...


Tag a Bag

After you register for USMS this year, you will get an extra bonus when you get your card.

An Arizona Masters Swimming bag tag!

This handy tag is similar to the ones you see at events like Olympic Trials and other sporting events. They were handed out at Long Course Nationals in Portland with the order of events on the back. These ones have the logo on the front and fields on the back for your contact information. They are made out of a durable materials that is waterproof and flexible.

So after you get your USMS card you can now tag your bag. Enjoy...


Everyday Nutrition vs. Game Day Nutrition

By Dawn Weatherwax-Fall

Many athletes, parents, and coaches ask what is best to eat before, during, and after competition. However, another very important question is "What food and beverages are needed every day to maximize performance and is there a difference between the two?" Some experts say that sports nutrition can enhance performance up to 15 percent. I can tell you from personal experience we get amazing results when the athlete puts everyday nutrition, competition nutrition, and training all together.


• Male, 16yo, 5'11, 195 lb
• Linebacker
• 12.8% body fat
• 3500kcal/day- eating too much saturated and trans fats, not enough healthy fats/calories/protein/fluids and nutrient timing off on everyday eating and game day for maximum performance


• Decrease 40 yd dash from 4.87-4.6 seconds
• Gain 20 lb of lean muscle mass
• Get a football scholarship

4 Month Follow-up

• Body Fat 12.2%
• 5800kcal/day-correct nutrient breakdown and timing for body type and activity
• Outcome
• Gained 15 lb lean body mass
• Decreased 40 yd dash from 4.9-4.47 seconds

Whatever your goal, the following EVERY DAY nutritional guidelines are the basics for helping you get there.

1. Eat and drink within an hour after you wake up. Whether you get up at 6am or 11am, it is important to replace the water and carbohydrates that you lost while you slept. Both these nutrients are important for energy, metabolism, and optimizing performance (1,5).
2. Get the right amount of calories and nutrients for your body type and sport. Usually an athlete that has a lower body fat burns more calories (energy) and utilizes more carbohydrates. I highly recommend you get your resting metabolic rate measured for accuracy. We have found the amount of calories you burn at rest varies greatly from one athlete to the next. This is important so you maximize recovery and your performance goals.
3. Eat enough protein to optimize repair, building, and maintenance of muscle tissue. The minimum amount of protein an athlete needs is 1.4g of protein per kg of body weight (3). Please spread this amount evenly throughout the day so the muscle always has protein at its disposal.
4. Watch for empty calories. In my office we call them "Freebies". Chips, candy, soda, sweets, fast food, fried food, sugary cereals and bars, high saturated fat items, and processed food are generally high in calories and/or fat, and low in nutrients. Most athletes consume 3-5 freebies a day, if not more. These types of calories do not assist in muscle building, recovery, immune system; wound healing and low body fat.
5. Proper hydration. Hydrating has been proven to aid in protein synthesis, fat burning, strength, speed, power, and fatigue resistance (2,4). A quick method to determine how much water you should be drinking is take half your weight and that is how many fluid ounces you should drink a day, not including workouts.
6. Eat within 30 minutes after weight lifting or hard workout. For maximum recovery of carbohydrate storage (muscle glycogen) and to promote muscle recovery and building, you should eat a minimum of 6-10g of protein and 30-60g of carbohydrates. It is highly suggested you work with a dietitian who has an emphasis in sports nutrition to get more exact numbers.

Game Day Nutrition

Game day nutrition has three significant changes.

1. Game day nutrition starts the day before. When it comes to sports nutrition, hydration and carbohydrates are the two most important factors that affect performance. Both have limited storage capacity and the body is constantly losing both throughout the day. It is very important that your body is full of both before you go to bed the night before. Think of it like a gas meter.
2. Eat enough calories. If you are an athlete who needs 4000kcals in a day, then you will need 4000kcal the day of the competition. However it does not help to get the majority after the event. The goal is to eat every two or four hours and to have two thirds of your calories before 4-5pm.
3. Fuel mixture is different. The day of the event you will get more of your calories from carbohydrates and liquids than proteins and fats. Proteins and fats have minimal needs especially before and during the events.


Never try anything new the day of competition. You never know how your body is going to react. You work too hard to take the risk.

Where do you begin?

Sports nutrition can impact performance if utilized correctly. The problem is very few people seek out a professional to calculate their individual needs. If you are serious about adding the nutrition component please seek assistance from a dietitian with an emphasis in sports nutrition.


1. Berning J. Nelson Steen S. (1998). Nutrition for Sport and Exercise 2nd Edition. Aspen Publishers: Gaithersburg, MD.
2. Burge CM, Carey MF, Payne WR. (1993). Rowing performance, fluid balance, and metabolic function following dehydration and rehydration. Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, 25 (12): 1358-1364, 1993.
3. Campbell B, Kreider RB, Ziegenfuss T, La Bounty P, Roberts M, Burke D, Landis J, Lopez H, Antonio J. (2007). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4(1):8.
4. Jose Gonzalex-Alonso J, Calbet JAL, Nielsen B. (1999). Metabolic and thermodynamic response to dehydration-induced reductions in muscle blood flow in exercising humans. The Journal of Physiology, 520(2):577-589.
5. Weatherwax D, Weiss S. The Complete Idiots Guide to Sports Nutrition. Penguin Group: New York.

Dawn Weatherwax-Fall is a Registered/Licensed Dietitian with a specialty in Sports Nutrition and Founder of Sports Nutrition 2Go. She is also an Athletic Trainer with a Certification in Strength and Conditioning from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Weatherwax-Fall is also the author of The Official Snack Guide for Beleaguered Sports Parents and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sports Nutrition. She is an Official Speaker for the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and on the approval speaker list for the NCAA. Weatherwax-Fall is an active member of a host of other national association within her field.


Why Join USMS - Part VII

Fitness Programs that Motivate

Do you have what it takes to go the distance?

Mary Sweat, a US Masters Swimming volunteer and Fitness Committee member goes the distance each and every month.

Do you ever wonder exactly how much you swim?

Go the Distance was designed to answer that very question. With volunteers such as Mary Sweat and Marcia Anziano working behind the scenes, US Masters Swimming provides you with tracking tools to chart exactly how much you swim in a given month and year. "Everyone has a goal and we're here to help them," says Mary.

Why join a local Masters program and why join USMS? Even if you choose not to compete, US Masters Swimming has fitness programs that will help you stay on track, set goals, and measure your progress. Go the Distance and other fitness programs are free programs for members.

"Our program provides accountability, often times people say to me, ‘Go the Distance helped me get to the pool this week,'" Mary shared. Only roughly 25% of members compete in pool or open water events, but programs like Go the Distance are designed for everyone.

Joel Brown of Santa Rosa Masters started swimming two years ago with his wife and signed up for Go the Distance for motivation. Joel, 57 and a mechanical engineer, said, "at first we were happy to make it from one end of the pool to the other." After a few swimming lessons and participating in programs such as Go the Distance Joel has hit the 100-mile benchmark and is still swimming. "I've done sports all my life and this is the best exercise without hurting or deterioration of the body," said Joel.

"We recognize many milestones," Mary said who will reach her 500th mile during the 2009 USMS Long Course National Championships. "Our milestones start at 50 miles and go to 1,500 miles, and there are people in each category." So why do people participate? "You get monthly feedback, you get a report on your progress, you can share your goals with other participants, and it helps you continue to set goals," according to Mary. Darcy Lafountain, 53, does not like to compete but uses the Go the Distance to keep her going. She says, "GTD is a friendly competition with the right amount of pressure. Many days I consider taking a day off, but I know that somewhere in the US, one of the GTD participants is swimming-it is highly motivating!"

Mary is the key ingredient to the success of the program and her passion for fitness traces back to her childhood. "When I was 8 years old, I completed the American Red Cross swim lesson program. I got the lifeguards signature as approval that I had completed the requirements, and I got a certificate for my accomplishment. I still have that certificate. I guess I like to see my progress. I like to chart where I've been, where I'm at, and where I'm headed and that's what Go the Distance does."

Mary is a dedicated volunteer and spends close to 40 hours per month working on the Go the Distance program. "Mary is amazing! Her enthusiasm is inspiring and her genuine interest and kindness toward her GTD participants is deeply appreciated," said Darcy. Darcy, who trains at Aqua Crest in Delray Beach, Fla., will participate in Go the Distance again in 2009 and hopes to swim over 1,500 miles.

Go the Distance evolved out of a previous fitness program called the "Geographic Virtual Series." When posed with the question, "How do we better serve our members?" the Fitness Committee developed Go the Distance. Now, more than 500-members participate in Go the Distance and it continues to grow.

Go the Distance is not the only fitness program that US Masters Swimming has to offer. The Check off Challenge is also available to help inspire Masters Swimmers to continue to try new events and set new goals.


Ways to Win at Weight Loss

by Marilynn Larkin

Americans trying to lose weight have plenty of company. According to a 1995 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), tens of millions of Americans are dieting at any given time, spending more than $33 billion yearly on weight-reduction products, such as diet foods and drinks.

Yet, studies over the last two decades by the National Center for Health Statistics show that obesity in the United States is actually on the rise. Today, approximately 35 percent of women and 31 percent of men age 20 and older are considered obese, up from approximately 30 percent and 25 percent, respectively, in 1980.

The words obesity and overweight are generally used interchangeably. However, according to the IOM report, their technical meanings are not identical. Overweight refers to an excess of body weight that includes all tissues, such as fat, bone and muscle. Obesity refers specifically to an excess of body fat. It is possible to be overweight without being obese, as in the case of a body builder who has a substantial amount of muscle mass. It is possible to be obese without being overweight, as in the case of a very sedentary person who is within the desirable weight range but who nevertheless has an excess of body fat. However, most overweight people are also obese and vice versa. Men with more than 25 percent and women with more than 30 percent body fat are considered obese.

Many people who diet fail to lose weight--or, if they do lose, fail to maintain the lower weight over the long term. As the IOM report, "Weighing The Options: Criteria for Evaluating Weight-Management Programs," points out, obesity is "a complex, multifactorial disease of appetite regulation and energy metabolism."

Because many factors affect how much or how little food a person eats and how that food is metabolized, or processed, by the body, losing weight is not simple. For example, recent studies suggest a role for genetic makeup in obesity. This area is still controversial, and more studies will be needed before scientists can say with certainty that a person's genes may set limits on how much weight can be lost and maintained.

Yet many people persist in seeking simple cures to this complex health problem. Lured by fad diets or pills that promise a quick and easy path to thinness, they end up disappointed when they regain lost weight.

No Shortcuts

"There are no shortcuts--no magic pills," says Lori Love, M.D., Ph.D., of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Losing weight sensibly and safely requires a multifaceted approach that includes setting reasonable weight-loss goals, changing eating habits, and getting adequate exercise. Appetite suppressants (diet pills) or other products may help some people over the short term, but they are not a substitute for adopting healthful eating habits over the long term.

The first step in losing weight safely is to determine a realistic weight goal.

A physician, dietitian or nutritionist also can help you set a reasonable goal. To reach the goal safely, plan to lose 1 to 2 pounds weekly by consuming approximately 300 to 500 fewer calories daily than usual (women and inactive men generally need to consume approximately 2,000 calories to maintain weight; men and very active women may consume up to 2,500 calories daily).

Moderation, Variety and Balance

After determining a reasonable goal weight, devise an eating plan based on the cornerstones of healthful eating--moderation, variety and balance, suggests Victor Herbert, M.D., J.D., professor of medicine and director of the Nutrition Center at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Bronx VA Medical Centers in New York City, and member of the board of directors of the National Council Against Health Fraud.

"Moderation means not eating too much or too little of any particular food or nutrient; variety means eating as wide a variety as possible from each, and within each, of the five basic food groups; and balance refers to the balance achieved by following moderation and variety, as well as the balance of calories consumed versus calories expended," he explains. To lose weight, fewer calories should be consumed than expended; to maintain weight loss, the number of calories consumed and expended should be about the same.

Because fat is the most concentrated source of calories (9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for carbohydrate and protein), it is usually the focus of weight-maintenance and weight-loss diets. Limiting fat intake alone will likely limit calories, as well. Just as for the general population, weight-conscious consumers should limit fat intake to no more than 30 percent of total calories, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Alcoholic beverages also are a source of calories (7 per gram of alcohol). Twelve ounces of regular beer, for example, provides 150 calories; the same amount of "light" beer, 105 calories. Five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits provide 100 calories. But alcohol provides few, if any, nutrients, so if you drink alcoholic beverages and want to reduce your weight, consider reducing or eliminating your alcohol intake.

In selecting your diet, follow the five basic food groups and the recommended number of servings from each as incorporated into the Food Guide Pyramid developed by USDA and HHS. These groups are (1) bread, cereal, pasta, and rice; (2) vegetables; (3) fruits; (4) milk, yogurt and cheese; and (5) meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. A sixth group (fats, oils and sweets) consists mainly of items that are pleasing to the palate but high in fat and/or calories; these should be eaten in moderation.

Avoid low-calorie fad diets that exclude whole categories of food such as carbohydrates (bread and pasta) or proteins (meat and poultry). These diets may be harmful because they generally do not include all nutrients necessary for good health. "Every fad diet that demands an unusual eating pattern, such as emphasizing only a few types of foods, deviates from one or more of the guidelines of moderation, variety and balance," says Herbert. "The greater the deviation, the more harmful the diet is likely to be."

Using the Food Label

To help consumers plan a healthful diet, FDA and USDA have revamped food labels. By law, most food labels now must display a Nutrition Facts panel containing information about how the food can fit into an overall daily diet. Nutrition Facts state how much saturated fat, cholesterol, fiber, and certain nutrients are contained in each serving.

On the food label, %Daily Value shows what percentage of a given nutrient is provided in one portion for daily diets of 2,000 calories.

Whether or not a given food fits into a weight-loss diet depends on what other foods you eat that day. For most people, the goal is to select a variety of foods that together add up to approximately 100 percent of the Daily Value for total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals; total fat, cholesterol and sodium each may add up to less than 100 percent.

Foods that claim to contain fewer calories or less fat than similar servings of similar products must show the difference on the label. For example, on a container of low-fat cottage cheese, the label would show that a serving of the low-fat product contains 80 calories and 1.5 grams of fat while regular cottage cheese contains 120 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving.

Camille Brewer, a registered dietitian and nutritionist in FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, advises caution, however, when choosing foods that are labeled "fat-free" and "low-fat." Some of these foods, like "low-fat" cakes and cookies, still may be high in calories because of added sugars. So dieters should always check the Nutrition Facts panel to get complete information, she says.

Look for foods high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Fiber can be an important aid in weight maintenance because eating enough of it can help make a person feel full and thus not eat as much.


Regular exercise is important for overall health, as well as for losing and maintaining weight. There is evidence to suggest that body fat distribution affects health risks. For example, excess fat in the abdominal area (as opposed to hips and thighs) is associated with greater risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, early heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Vigorous exercise can reduce abdominal fat and thus lower the risk of these diseases.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a half hour or more of moderate physical activity on most days, preferably every day. The activity can include brisk walking, calisthenics, home care, gardening, moderate sports exercise, and dancing. Regular exercise can help the body use up calories consumed daily, as well as excess calories stored as fat. Weight-bearing exercises also help tone muscles and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Weight-Loss Programs

Many people turn to weight-loss programs for help in planning a daily diet and changing lifestyle habits. The IOM report provides guidelines for evaluating the potential effectiveness of such programs.
"To improve their chances for success, consumers should choose programs that focus on long-term weight management; provide instruction in healthful eating, increasing activity, and improving self-esteem; and explain thoroughly the potential health risks from weight loss,"
Consumers should also demand evidence of success. If it is absent or consists primarily of testimonials or other anecdotal evidence, "the program should be viewed with suspicion."

IOM recommends that potential clients be given a truthful, unambiguous, non-misleading statement about the program's approaches and goals, and a full disclosure of costs. The cost breakdown should include initial and ongoing costs, as well as the cost of extra products.

The basic tenet of weight loss--to eat fewer calories than you burn and to stay active--is easy to say but, like most lifestyle changes, not so easy to do. With realistic goals, and a commitment to losing weight slowly, safely and sensibly, the chances of long-term success improve dramatically.

Marilynn Larkin is a writer in New York City. Paula Kurtzweil, a member of FDA's public affairs staff, also contributed to this article.

NOTE: The following excerpt is from an article which originally appeared in the July-August 1994 issue of FDA Consumer. It contains revisions made in May 1998 and May 1999. This article appears appear courtesy of the Food and Drug Adminisration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). For updated information and other resources, please visit the FDA CFSAN web site at: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/list.html


Fall Classic

Last month, Northern Arizona Masters hosted their annual Fall Classic at the Wall Aquatics Center. About sixty swimmers from all over the state came to swim at 7000 feet...and had a good time.

See, these swimmers were smiling ;-)

On Saturday before the meet, the NAU Women's Swim Team conducted a stroke clinic at the Aquatics Center. Afterwards, Coach Liz Hobbs had a pasta feed at her house. Both events were fun, allowing swimmers to improve their strokes and load up on carbohydrates in preparation for Sunday's meet.

The meet itself was small yet fun. Many local swimmers participated along with some of the usual suspects. Everybody had to contend with the altitude but all survived just fine. The challenge of swimming in thin air was met and new friendships were made.

It was a beautiful fall weekend in Flagstaff. It was sunny and pleasant, a perfect time of year to be up north. Give this meet some thought when making your meet plans for next year. Well done NAM!


Why Join USMS - Part VI

What's With the Growth?

Did you know that as of October 31, 2008, U.S. Masters Swimming had more than 48,000 members?

Did you know that as of October 31, 2008, there were 96 new U.S. Masters Swimming clubs and that new clubs accounted for roughly 17 percent of total USMS clubs?

USMS membership is at an all-time high as we move into 2009 registration. New programs, new coaches, new volunteers and new athletes are contributing to the vibrancy of U.S. Masters Swimming.

So, what's with the growth?

"I think more and more YMCAs, recreation facilities and private clubs are starting to see the additional benefit of Masters programs to their organizations," said Mel Goldstein, director of Club and Coach Services. Mel, with the help of 25 volunteers, answers questions, mentors new coaches and helps to build new programs from the ground up. Paula Noel, a new USMS coach and the founder of one of USMS's newest programs, saw a need for a Masters program in her local area and said, "There is a large base of triathletes and adult swimmers in my area and I had received a lot of positive feedback from people I had spoken with about my desire to swim with other adults who had similar goals and interests."

Paula swam competitively with her local age group team and then swam in high school. "Swimming was truly my passion," she shared about her memories of swimming as a child. "I taught swim lessons and started working with younger swimmers on their stroke development," she explained of her experience coaching. Like other swimmers and coaches, Paula is enthusiastic about coaching adults, but it was Paula's proactive research and self-education that took her idea of building a Masters program and turned it into a reality.

Do you see a need for a new program in your area, but don't know where to start? No worries: U.S. Masters Swimming is here to help. Club and program registration is done through Local Masters Swimming Committees (LMSC). Visit www.usms.org and then click on the Local Programs link. From there, select your geographic area and the accompanying website, which will have information on registering your club or program.

"My biggest apprehension was that we would not be able to attract members or generate an interest in our new program," says Paula. But rather than allowing this trepidation to deter her from her goal of starting a Masters program, Paula forged ahead, educating herself on her local facilities, community and U.S. Masters Swimming. "My first step was to research through the U.S. Masters Swimming website," she explains. After researching Masters swimming culture, history, policies and procedures on www.usms.org, Paula looked to Mel Goldstein and his team of volunteers for guidance. "Not only did they respond, they asked a lot of questions, and really took an interest in how they could help," she says. Mel even flew to New York to meet with the aquatic director of Paula's facility to explain the process of structuring a successful team. Mel, his team of volunteers and USMS didn't stop their involvement when Paula's team started swimming; they continue to support Paula as she grows her program. Jeanne Ensign, a Club and Coach Services volunteer says, "in order to retain members, coaches, and clubs we really must focus on continuing education and support."

Do you want to start a new Masters program? Paula Noel's advice: "Go for it! There is always an interest in adults sharing a common interest like swimming that provides encouragement and camaraderie while promoting a healthy lifestyle." Jeanne also understands that starting a new program can be overwhelming and suggests, "You build a program one swimmer at a time. Start by inviting a friend to swim with you and see where it goes from there. It starts with one." New teams, new coaches and new members are a key ingredient in the life of U.S. Masters Swimming and coaches like Paula Noel prove that it just takes a little enthusiasm, a little commitment and a little willingness to learn, be taught and teach your local community and its leaders of the importance of adult aquatic programs.

Do you have questions about starting a new program or improving an existing program? Club and Coach Services is available to all U.S. Masters Swimming members. For more information email Mel Goldstein.


Open Water Swim Results

Last weekend, masters swimmer Patrick Brundage from Scottsdale was the first male swimmer out of the water at the Tribal 2.4 Mile Swim at Tempe Town Lake. Swimming World was at the event and has video of it. Go here to view the segment. Well done Patrick and to the other brave souls who swam that cool, windy day!


Barr on NPR

From time to time you ask yourself, where are they now? Well, if you are a former Olympic swimmer, the answer to that would be "in Phoenix." NPR did a feature a while back about former Olympians and what they did after the Games. Beth Barr Isaac (USA - 1988) was one of the athletes featured in the article.

Great article, give it a read.


Why Join USMS - Part V

It's for Everyone

Bryan Karkoska (PK), 36, started swimming only a couple of years ago with Auburn Masters Swimming in Auburn, Ala. PK, a former placekicker for the Auburn University football team, races in one meet a year. "I like to race," he says, but PK's busy work schedule keeps him from competing in more meets. PK is the head strength and conditioning coach for Auburn University Olympic sports. "I swim with about 20 Masters swimmers during my lunch, and almost all of us compete in the meet that we host in February," PK shares, but quickly informs that, "its not about the competition, it's about the camaraderie." Conner Bailey, one of PK's teammates in Auburn, also competes in U.S. Masters meets throughout the year. Conner, a professor of rural sociology at Auburn, said that competing is a "real pleasure. I don't swim against the other people in the pool. I swim against myself and the clock."

"Yeah, there is a lot of smack behind the blocks," PK jokes, "but it is all in good fun," he insists and goes onto say, "I didn't get into this sport to see how fast I could go; this is a lifestyle and I do it to feel good." U.S. Masters meets are notorious for coach and athlete socials after the competition. "It is a time for us to hang out, socialize and recap on the meet." Conner agrees and calls Masters meets "one big social event." Even though racing isn't PK's first priority, he recently set new goals for himself in the pool. "I've never swam a long course meet before and I think I'd like to try." Conner, 62, also shared his racing goals for the future. "My goal is to always go faster than my age in a 100 free. Last year I swam faster than 62 seconds and touched at 1:00.80!" he said.

Competition is one of the many benefits of a USMS membership and the third installment in the eight-part series, "Why join your local Master's program, and why join USMS?" Don't think that competition is for you?

Some U.S. Masters swimmers dread the word "race." Some might think that competition is only for the "fast" swimmers or the "experienced" swimmers, but that is not the case. "It is absolutely for everyone," says PK. "Yes, there are people wearing high-performance suits and worry about hitting their taper, but there are just as many of us that show up in a regular suit and just want to challenge ourselves." Conner admits to getting nervous behind the blocks, but says, "I tell myself, ‘It's only about what I can do today,' and then I can compare it to what I can do in one month from today or one year from today." Conner doesn't feel pressure to swim fast, but feels a sense of pride when he knows that he has swum a "smart" race. Conner keeps a spreadsheet of his races and likes to look back on them and see where he's improved; "I've actually gotten faster in a few events over the years."

Want to swim in a U.S. Masters meet?

Last year there were over 270 meets and 12,381 USMS competitors. Finding a meet in your local area is easy! Either visit http://www.usms.org/comp/calendar.php and click on your zone for a USMS calendar of events or contact your local LMSC.

Can't find time in your schedule to attend a meet? Go postal.

The U.S. Masters postal events got their name when swimmers from across the country would mail (remember those things called pens, paper, envelopes and stamps?) in results from local swims to get the opportunity to virtually compete with other swimmers in different cities. If you can't find time in your schedule to attend a U.S. Masters swim meet, you can still compete against other USMS members; with the new year comes the USMS 1 Hour Postal and a great way to kick off the season. You might be wondering, "How does it work?" Answer: Swim for one hour and let us know how far you've gone. The only requirement is that you be a member of USMS. Easy, right?

For a complete explanation of the USMS 1 Hour Postal Championship rules, go to http://www.usms.org/longdist/ldnats09/1hrentry.pdf.

U.S. Masters Swimming provides competitive opportunities for USMS members of all ages and abilities. Whether you are brand new to the sport of swimming and haven't quite figured out a flip turn or are racing to beat a world record time, USMS has the perfect meet for you.


Jason Lezak Swimming Clinics

Olympic Gold Medalist Jason Lezak is coming to Arizona for a series of events later this month. He will do two swim clinics in the Phoenix metro area as well as an event for Save ASU Swimming on Saturday November 22. The following day, he will be in Tucson for a brunch and clinic at the new Skyline Masters Swim Club.

This is a rare opportunity to learn from the best sprint freestyler in the US. Jason is a student of swimming and has a lot of great information to share. You will certainly benefit by being a part of these clinics.

To sign-up for the clinic at ASU (Student Recreational Center), click here. For the one at Brophy, click here. For the brunch and clinic at Skyline Masters, click here. If you want to attend the ASU Swimming Gala, click here.

See you at these events!


Why Join USMS - Part IV

Something in the Water

USMS has been known to bring together swimmers, coaches, and teammates, but did you know that USMS also brings together husbands and wives? Some might call it Love Connection, but to us it is just swim practice.

Nell Cunningham, a member of Evanston Masters, met her husband Brian during a Masters practice. Nell joined her local Masters program when a colleague said, "You used to swim, come and join me at the pool." Nell was looking for an organization to be a part of, hoping to get back into swimming, and searching for a social group in which she could meet new people. She found it.

After swimming with her local team for a few years, she and her teammates took a team trip to Cozumel. She swam and vacationed with her USMS friends but found herself spending a lot of time with one teammate in particular: Brian. Now married and the parents of a toddler, Nell and Brian continue to swim with their local USMS team. Brian is a physical therapist and helps Nell with dryland exercises, but it is Nell who is most adamant about attending swim practice. "I'll say, ‘Let's go, we've got to get to the pool.'" Nell jokes about how she met her husband and said, "I never thought, ‘I'm going to swim to find my future husband,'" but she did. One of Nell and Brian's teammates even stood up as a groomsman in their wedding. This couple, which admits to "talking about swimming at the dinner table," isn't the only couple to come out of Evanston Masters; the team, founded in 1982, has had 12 marriages emerge from its waters.

Is it something in the water?

Actually, it has more to do with what goes on out of the water with the Evanston Masters of Illinois Masters. This Masters program takes great pride in its social functions. "We get together to celebrate everything," Nell explains., "We have a social to celebrate our new members in October, a holiday party in December, an anniversary party in February," and the list continues. "We try to get to know one another." Nell jokes, "There hasn't been a wedding on the team in a few years, so all of us of a certain age look to the younger swimmers and say, ‘Let's get on this, folks.'"

USMS can't promise to find every member a match, but it can promise to provide a group of people with similar interests and a common bond of swimming and fitness. USMS might be the Love Connection for Nell and her husband Brian, but to everyone it is a place to call home and a group of people to call family.


Registration Renewal

You can now renew your USMS membership by going online here. Doing so will ensure that you are covered by USMS insurance at practices and meets that you attend. You will also be eligible for discounts with a variety of merchants on both a national and local level. So make sure you sign-up now and keep your membership up to date.

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